Netflix's latest psychological thriller Cam is not another warning about the perils of sex work. Our hero Alice (Madeline Brewer) is a popular cam girl who goes by Lola, and she f*cking loves her job. She's far from a victim of circumstance or helpless against would-be stalkers from the internet. Instead, the villains of this horror show, by the producers of Get Out, are much more Black Mirror-esque: technology and our generation's thirst for likes.
Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid's Tale) stars as Alice, who's greatest wish is to break the top ten ranking of her online porn site, relying on her alter-ego's gimmicky live shows to get tips and private chats with influential, wealthy customers—who she has little qualms about meeting IRL. But when her account gets hacked by a girl who looks just likes her, the games get out of control.
But the real horror behind Cam is not the men that follow "Lola" into her real life, or even what she puts herself through to move up the ranks—especially when she seems to have a lot of fun with all that special effect makeup. It's the building tension of how far Alice is willing to go to be seen, how the police react to her stolen identity, and the perils of ever-expanding technologies.
You see, one of the things that's so refreshing about Cam is that its written by a former sex worker (Isa Mazzei) and is all about agency, not exploitation. While racing to take back her identity from a mysterious hacker, Alice never loses her own autonomy. In fact, that's what she's fighting for the whole time.
So, is it worth watching? If you have no qualms with endings that aren't wrapped up in a bow—and are a fan of Black Mirror—you definitely want to add it to your queue. Though you might get an additional kick out of this film if you have a particular aversion to A.I., the people who it'll scare the most are the ones who spend hours choosing their outfit for the perfect 'Gram, one they may never wear again. Watching Alice celebrate breaking top 50 feels a little too close to the catharsis of hitting a certain amount of likes on social media. I think that's why it's so gut-wrenching when she gets more and more popular after her face is stolen.
The scariest moments of Cam have almost nothing to do with the person who stole her account at all, it's everything she's willing to do to get it back.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.